Hollywood has been good to Paula Hawkins. Following the release of a movie adapted from her novel, The Girl on the Train, the book has become one of the most widely read books at US libraries this year.
A survey of 14 metropolitan libraries by Quartz shows that The Girl on the Train is the most checked-out book at eight of them, and the most checked-out work of fiction at 11.
There was also a strong Wimpy grip on children’s reading in 2016. Jeff Kinney’s series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, is the top book for kids in seven of the 12 cities that provided children’s breakouts.
Some books’ popularity were driven by library initiatives. For instance, the San Francisco Public Library’s “One City One Book” program encouraged its patrons to read Season of the Witch by David Talbot, shooting it to the top of its most popular book list.
Other books’ popularity are driven by adjacent corners of culture. Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton was the most borrowed nonfiction work in Baltimore. The book was the basis and inspiration for the Tony-award-winning play Hamilton.
Here are the top five books for each category at each library that responded to our requests:
The number of times a book can be checked out is, of course, limited by the library’s inventory, the speed at which local patrons complete and return books, and the efficiency of library staff in recirculating the title.
The public libraries of Memphis, Philadelphia, San Jose, Houston, Chicago, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and Phoenix did not provide Quartz with suitable rankings prior to publication.